Sep 30, 2020

Challenges Monthly Wrap-up: September

 CHALLENGE 1: 2020 New Release Challenge

White Fox by Sara Faring (9/22/20)
A Wicked Magic
by Sasha Laurens (7/28/20)
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis (8/25/20)
Eventide by Sarah Goodman (10/6/20)


I already completed this challenge, so I'm feeling pretty good about the extra numbers!

CHALLENGE 2: Print ONLY Reading Challenge

A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
Possession by M. Verano
Book of Shadows by M. Verano
The Merciless II by Danielle Vega


I'm up to 39 at this point! I'm feeling a little better about getting this one completed by the end of the year! Just 5 more really since I'm reading one now!

CHALLENGE 3: 2020 Discussion Challenge

So yeah, I sucked this month at discussions. The new Blogger interface is totally to blame! It's making writing posts such a struggle. I'm struggling with this one now and there's a good chance there's no formatting here because it kept p***ing me off. On the plus side, I did complete my goal this month!

CHALLENGE 4: Beat the Backlist 2020 Reading Challenge

Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano (8/25/15)
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagic (6/11/19)
Possession by M. Verano (8/30/16)
Book of Shadows by M. Verano (9/19/17)
The Merciless II by Danielle Vega (7/5/16)


All bonus titles from here!

CHALLENGE 5: 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge

Book of Shadows by M. Verano (Diary of a Haunting)

More bonus titles!

Waiting on Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a fairytale retelling that'll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of "happily ever after."
Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen's huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman took out his knife . . . and took Sophie's heart.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule -- a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she'd heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can't extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

I still need to read last year's Stepsister release, but it doesn't stop me from getting excited for another fairy tale retelling!

TITLE: Poisoned
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
GENRE: YA Fairy Tale Retelling
RELEASE DATE: October 20, 2020

Sep 29, 2020

Review--The Merciless II by Danielle Vega

Danielle Vega—YA’s answer to Stephen King—once again brings major scares in the spine-tingling sequel to horror hit The Merciless, which MTV calls “Mean Girls meets The Exorcist.”
Sofia is still processing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic visions. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish.
Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi. There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul?
Readers won’t be able to look away from this terrifying read full of twists and turns that will leave them wondering, Is there evil in all of us?


It took me about 6 years but I finally picked up Danielle Vega's The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores. It continues the story of young Sofia who was dealing with the knowledge that a demon is hounding her, trying to get to her to commit sin, and the more horrifying part was learning that Brooklyn already considered Sofia "one of us!"

Sofia is trying to get back to some semblance of normal after the deaths of her friends and knowing that Brooklyn, the demon girl, is still out there and will more than likely come after her. But then tragedy strikes and Sofia is left orphaned. She gets shipped off to a Catholic school for "unruly" teens and can live out the rest of her underage days there.

Sofia tries hard to ignore the nagging voice in her head that tells her she's already evil, but it's a powerful voice. She's greeted warmly at the school by her new roommates Leena and Sutton. Life seems almost good. Then she meets a boy named Jude and can't help but feel an intense pull towards him. Unfortunately for her, Leena has a major crush on Jude and has been doing everything possible to get his attention. She thinks they're meant for each other, but it would seem there's something between Jude and Sofia growing.

But then the bad things start happening again, one after another. Sofia isn't sure if she is somehow committing these heinous acts in her sleep or if there's something else in the school. Something that wants to cause as much death and destruction as possible. Things Brooklyn reveled in.

I forgotten how intense Danielle's horror stories are! I was last reading her Rollins books which definitely have a different vibe to them then her Vega ones. And oh wow. These books are downright creepy! I do want to put another PSA in here that there is unfortunately animal abuse in here, like bad abuse. It's never seen though, but the end results basically tell you how bad it was. I won't get too much more into that because it had me cringing even, but sadly it did fit well into the story and building up the events.

This book definitely took a darker turn than I expected! There was a twist I was not prepared for and it only continued to escalate after that. While this book didn't have the sort of monster-horror theme that my last few reads did, it does have a darker tone to it. One that felt more real and that made it all the more terrifying.

I found myself unable to put this one down. It was a read that completely hooked you in and you're racing through the pages eager to see what will happen next and what the eventual outcome would be! And just whoa! I'm eager to dive into the next book which appears to be a prequel to the first two books. That makes me more curious again to see what book four will be about! 

If you're looking for a read that is positively bone-chilling this Halloween season, I highly recommend any of Danielle Vega's books! You won't be disappointed!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.


"Something catches my eye.

Three long gouges claw across the windowsill. I frown and run a finger over them, feeling the grooves' sharp edges, the tiny splinters sticking out of the wood. They look like they were made by fingernails. Like someone tried to claw her way out of this place." p. 60-61







TITLE: The Merciless II
AUTHOR: Danielle Vega

PUBLISHER: Razorbill
GENRE: YA Horror
RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


This week's topic is: Top Ten Recent Favorite Quotes


*in no particular order


10. A book is always a door.
9. Fear is part of life; all that matters is what we do with it.
8. Because happiness, however short-lived, is always worth it.


7. Imagine me. Master of my own universe. I am everything I ever dreamed of.
6. The way writers get to create worlds and people. The way they can manipulate reality.
5. Some things are easier to say in the dark. Sometimes the dark can make you brave.

4. A good book was its own brand of magic.
3. I loved escaping from reality, especially during times of trouble. Stories made everything possible.
2. But when I came across a character I loved in a book, I felt like my soul had been seen--its call answered by the author.

1. Reading was an escape to a different world, a different life. Plus it was very cheap.

Sep 28, 2020

ARC Review--Eventide by Sarah Goodman

"Eventide is an evocative YA historical fantasy thriller by debut author Sarah Goodman, for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray.


Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman."


I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.


Sarah Goodman's debut Eventide had the looks of creepy and sinister ghost story set in the past. While the tale was a bit eerie it wasn't as creepy as I had hoped, but it still made for an intriguing tale of magic and lore with a bit of weirdness on the side.

Verity and her younger sister, Lilah, start their journey on a train to Wheeler, Arkansas where they are to be taken up for adoption. Their father had just been admitted to the asylum, his mind hasn't been right since their mother died a few years ago. Verity is just months away from being legally able to look after her sister on her own, so she sees this as a temporary setback from her goals of going back to New York and studying medicine.

Except Lilah is taken by a young woman, Miss Maeve, who can only adopt one child. If Verity wants to stay in town to be close to her sister, she'll have to be picked up by another set of adults wanting a child. She ends up taking a job at a farm in order to stay in Wheeler. It's not until a little while later that she gets the warning to never enter the woods, always stay on the path that goes around it. There's a strange and eerie presence in the woods, Verity can sense it, but she writes it off in her most logical way.

Life continues to go on for Verity in a mundane fashion. The other farmhand, Abel, of course plays a love interest for Verity. Though they have a certain chemistry brewing between them, he's apparently spoken for by another young woman. It's a bit of a gossip mill in the small town!

Sometime later, Verity starts to get a suspicion that Miss Maeve might not be the best person to care for Lilah. Verity thinks there's something dark and almost, sinister about the schoolteacher and she's determine to do whatever it takes to get her sister back safe and sound.

From the way the cover looks, I was anticipating a creepy and ghostly story, but yet, that's not exactly what we got. There's definitely an eerie vibe going on in this story, but the answers are usually slower to come. Which is to be expected, I guess I was just hoping to see more ghostly apparitions or something. 

As far as the romance goes it's not all there all the time. We have that budding romance brewing between Abel and Verity, yet there's still great strides that stand between them and there will be unimaginable obstacles they will have to overcome without realizing what they are facing. Vague enough? Hopefully. Lol.

The end had quite the twist! Though I will admit, I was hoping that one part to it was going to be more fruitful, I guess you could say. It just seemed like there was too much "happy" to the ending, though it was borderline melancholy. I just wasn't happy with where all the players ended up, let's say that! But if you're looking for a nice eerie read that's light on the scary this Halloween you might just enjoy Eventide!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

Eventide releases October 6, 2020

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.


Last Week I Read:

Eventide by Sarah Goodman (ARC)--Review to come later today!
Possession by M. Verano (5 stars)
Book of Shadows by M. Verano (4.5 stars)

Currently Reading:

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega

What I Plan to Read Next:

The Merciless III by Danielle Vega

Other Posts of Interest:

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Waiting on Wednesday

Random Thursday 

Book Blogger Hop

Rachel Caine Contest Winner! 

Stacking the Shelves





Sep 27, 2020

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.


I don't know about you guys, but this week just felt extra long. Doesn't help me when work is starting to get slow. I'm going to be doing some training for the next few days starting Monday. So hopefully that will provide fruitful. In other news, I am have the damnedest time trying to find some Halloween merch! Firstly, it truly looks like Target will not be putting out any adorable miniature erasers! I don't know about your guys, but I kind of just like collecting them! Lol. But I guess COVID has had an impact on Target's eraser industry because they have not had any! On top of that, I keep looking for a cute little Halloween Ghost Succulent thingy-mo-bob, but literally NO Target in my area has it! They either say SOLD OUT or NOT SOLD AT THIS STORE! I took a peek at eBay, which I do in times of desperation, and naturally saw someone selling a set of 3 succulents for $60!! SIXTY DOLLARS on 3 succulents that add up to $9! NINE!! That's highway robbery right there I tell you! Add to that I cannot find a Halloween tote at my usual stores. I knew last year or the year before that I should've bought an extra one, but noooo, I thought the store would keep getting them! And they haven't yet!

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, that this is still September, shockingly. But I am a planner. I like to be ready and done for things before they really get close to starting. I mean, if you've ever seen me pack for a trip, especially a bookish trip, I start like 2 weeks in advance by making multiple lists of things I'll need, what bags they'll go in, etc etc. And yes, that's mainly when it comes to bookish trips that require the extra planning and meticulous packing! Lol! For non-bookish trips I'm making a list of clothes and such a week in advance!

But onto the haul, as I did just ramble a bit too much there! I did not buy a single book! I came close yesterday, but sadly the one and only copy on the shelf was so severely damaged I was not going to spend full cover price on that!

I did do something rash though...I requested another ARC for review and was accepted!

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (ARC)
THANK YOU Bloomsbury YA!
Then I got a few other bookish goodies, like my Crush pre-order goodies:
I got a notepad, two bookmarks, two stickers, a bracelet, and the surprise item was an art print, which I decided to cover so if you are waiting on yours you can still be surprised too! 
Then...I fell back on old habits and bought another book sleeve! But it's Halloweenie!! And it's a mass market paperback size and I've only a few of those! I decided I wanted a variety, so I think I'm up to 4 of that size alone! So it's not an addiction in that particular size. LOL!
Thanks again for Fandomsleeves so aiding me in my addiction! Lol! I LOOOVE this size for my mass market paperbacks and have yet to find another shop that carries it or makes the sleeves with such great sturdy quality!
And then some time ago, but it's really hard to remember since shipping and processing times are slower because of COVID, I placed another order on ShopDisney! This is only half of it, the other half has not shipped which makes me nervous because the items were back and forth being on their site, then disappeared, then reappeared, then one disappeared. Just tell me that MINE are set aside and are awaiting being boxed or whatever! I ordered them as quickly as I could so it better not get canceled.
I know the Disney ornaments are not of high quality for their high price tag, but when I saw this one of the Beast giving Belle her library, I had to have it for that alone! The paint job isn't the best, but it's not terrible either, so it's a keeper! I love the details on the back even more because MORE BOOKS!

And then because my order was like $7 or so away from free shipping, I threw in this cute little Halloween pin! Granted now I see another one I really want, so I'm waiting for when one of the other items I'm eyeing "releases" and hopefully I can buy them then too!  

And that was it for me! What goodies did you get this week? Both bookish and non?